On Wednesday, Dec. 18 Future Educators of America (FEA) went on a field trip to Lakeside Elementary School to distribute books and read to elementary school kids.
The day was set up through Gail Henshaw, sponsor of the “I-Have-A-Dream” Foundation (IHAD). IHAD was formed in 2006 by Ken and Gail Henshaw, parents of junior Scott and senior Beth Henshaw. The program was designed to help inner city kids graduate high school and improve both their schools and community.
IHAD has distributed over 100,000 books since 2007 to various elementary schools throughout the city of Richmond and Henrico and Chesterfield counties. Children are allowed to bring the books home to add to their own personal libraries.
Wednesday was the first time IHAD partnered with Godwin’s FEA club. Teachers for Tomorrow teacher Sharon Womble and Henshaw worked in collusion to coordinate Godwin student’s field trip to Lakeside Elementary.
“The goal of the field trip was to expose Godwin students to different classroom environments with students from diverse backgrounds,” said Womble.
Lakeside Elementary School differs greatly from elementary schools surrounding Godwin. Lakeside has a more diverse population with 51 percent of white students compared to Gayton Elementary School which has an 88 percent white population.
Gayton Elementary has only five percent of the students eligible for free lunch, while Lakeside has 56 percent of students eligible for free lunch compared to the state average of 33 percent.
“It was refreshing to see a different side of Henrico County,” said senior Kelsey Mack.
FEA members wrapped each book individually for two weeks prior to the field trip. Each FEA member was assigned a class to read Roasted Peanuts to and distribute books.
Each grade level received a different book based on skill level. Some classrooms received Spanish books because their students predominantly spoke Spanish.
Godwin students spent forty minutes in the classroom, reading to Lakeside students and talking about the importance of reading. “After I passed out all of the books to my class, they blocked the door and didn’t want me to leave until I hugged each individual student and signed their book. I felt like a celebrity,” said senior Danai Kefalas.
The day was concluded with an assembly in which a visiting author, Kathryn Starke spoke to the students and read her book Amy’s Travels aloud. The assembly was designed to encourage reading and emphasize the importance of books.
Three Lakeside teachers had a competition to see who could read the most words in thirty seconds. They speed read the book Roasted Peanuts, and students cheered wildly the faster they read.
Three students were then chosen to compete against each other. “Every hand was raised, they were very eager to participate,” said senior Danai Kefalas.
Prizes were rewarded throughout the assembly to students who participated. The assembly concluded with a YouTube video of a rendition of the Black Eyed Peas “I Got a Feeling,” which the words were changed to “Gotta Keep Reading.” The words were up on the screen and students were encouraged to sing and dance. Many enthusiastic students were called on stage to showcase their dance moves.
“The field trip was a huge success. I was thrilled the FEA students wanted to go back on their own time. I look forward to continuing this partnership with Lakeside Elementary,” said Womble.